The Art Encounters Biennial art culture exhibition
The fifth edition of the Art Encounters Biennial – My Rhino Is Not a Myth. art science fictions – which will take place between May 19 and July 16, 2023, is dedicated to the intersection of art, science, and fiction, exploring their potential to recover reality as a web of complex processes. Curated by Adrian Notz together with a group of young curators, this year’s edition will take place over eight weeks, between May 19 and July 16, 2023, bringing together artists from 21 countries, 13 of which with new, specially designed works for this event.

A premiere that the Art Encounters Biennial 2023 proposes is an artistic extension within the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest through the Black Cloud installation by the well-known Mexican artist Carlos Amorales. This is part of the new exhibition season of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, to be open until September.
The fifth edition of the Art Encounters Biennial takes place in a special year for Timișoara, the European Capital of Culture 2023.

The Art Encounters Foundation organizes the Art Encounters Biennial. The event is financed by the Municipality of Timișoara through the Center for Projects and co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund and the Ministry of Culture, with Raiffeisen Bank as its leading partner and ISHO, TAZZ, MEWI, and DACOArt as sponsors.

Curatorial concept

The 5th edition of the Art Encounters Biennial My Rhino is Not a Myth focuses on the intersection between art, science, and fictions by exploring their potential to reclaim reality as a mesh of complex processes. Between scientific explorations and imaginative speculation, it touches upon stories of the unknown and the drive to change, adapt or subvert.
Unfolding as many narrative threads as possible, the biennial draws inspiration from a remarkable example of artistic and scientific imagination: Albrecht Dürer’s renowned work Rhinocerus, created in 1515 without the artist ever seeing the depicted animal. It was a response to a strange encounter, the first rhino traveling to the European continent since antiquity. But Ganda, as its Gujarati name was, reached Pope Leo X only as a taxidermic relic. Nevertheless, Dürer’s imaginative woodcut became one of the most influential animal images, finding its way into scientific publications until the 18th century and continuing to be incorporated into numerous artistic imageries long after.

With the Rhinocerus, the power of the imaginative reflects on both the artistic and scientific realm, on forms of collaborations that haven’t yet been systemized and divided in what modernity will frame as The Two Cultures: sciences and humanities. But Ganda was also a breathing being, one of the living artefacts serving as accessories of power. Its voyage around the world also mapped a geopolitical trajectory in all its haunting history of violence. Therefore, it tells a complex story of entangled places, manners of knowledge-making, and society in a profound change process.
The title of the biennial ties a connection to the play Rhinocéros, written in 1959 by the Romanian-French author Eugène Ionesco. A response to the rise of authoritarian regimes and collaboration, the original story envisions the inhabitants of a small, provincial village gradually turning into rhinoceroses while constantly denying the undergoing mysterious process. My Rhino is Not a Myth reclaims this power to resist forms of conformity and instead relies on the imaginative abilities of science and art to create breaches into accepted truths and address processes unaccounted for.
The biennial therefore proposes a crossover of art, science, and fictions as new ways to look at things, underlining the vitality of their entanglement in the fabric of life and reality. They create “art-science-fictions” as a fluid exchange between scientific and artistic approaches that respond to changes in our lived realities marked by environmental and social transformations.

Curator Adrian Notz

Adrian Notz is a curator at the ETH AI Center, curator of the Art Encounters Biennial 2023 in Timisoara, and mentor for the creative strategy and vision at the European Center for Contemporary Art in Cluj (ECCA), King of Elgaland-Vargaland, NSK Diplomat and Chevalier de la Tombe de Bakunin. From 2012–2019 he was artistic director of Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. He worked there first as a curatorial assistant and as co-director. From 2010 to 2015, he was head of the Department for Fine Arts at the School of Design in St. Gallen. Notz has organized and curated numerous exhibitions, events, conferences, actions, and interventions with international artists, activists, and thinkers in Cabaret Voltaire as well as internationally around the globe.

Curatorial collective

Adrian Notz is joined by a young team of curators and writers – Cristina Bută, Monica Dănilă, Edith Lázár, Ann Mbuti, Cristina Stoenescu, and Georgia Țidorescu – as members of the curatorial sounding board.

Cristina Bută is a curator and writer focusing on overcoming Western dominating art models. She holds a BA Honors Literary Studies & Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam and a MA Curating Art & Cultures, University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit. Between 2018–2019, she was a curator in training at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, where she worked on major solo shows of Maria Lassnig and Walid Raad. She worked as an editor, researcher and cultural moderator and published texts in magazines such as Third Text. Currently, she is the artistic director of Sector 1 Gallery, Bucharest, and co-founder of Euxine – The Utopian Society, an NGO dedicated to developing the Black Sea region through art collaborations.

Monica Dănilă is a young curator and writer based in Bucharest. She is interested in collaborative and interdisciplinary practices, connecting art with anthropology, science, and linguistics. Currently, she works with Galeria Posibilă in Bucharest, developing and organizing projects with environmentally conscious approaches.
Ann Mbuti is an independent writer in the contemporary arts field. She works as an art critic for different international magazines and her contributions are published in exhibition catalogs such as for the German Pavilion of the Venice Biennial 2022, documenta15 or the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022. In October 2022, her book “Black Artists Now” was published by the German publishing house C.H. Beck. Ann worked on various projects aimed at making contemporary art and culture more widely accessible. She lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland.
Edith Lázár is a curator and writer living in Cluj. She is the co-founder of the curatorial collective Aici Acolo active since 2014, showcasing young artists and cultivating collaborative models. In 2019, she was a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude, afterward launching the speculative journal Out of Stock, grounded in eastern European sensibilities. From 2014 to 2017 she was a teammate in the artist-run space Superliquidato (Paintbrush Factory) and assistant editor of anti-utopias. A former academic in philosophy, her interests take on aesthetic politics, speculative design, post-humanism, science-fiction storytelling, and the everyday troubles of tech & fashion.
Cristina Stoenescu is an independent curator currently living and working in Bucharest. Her interests currently include the topics of post-photographic images and the status of the artist in contemporary society, especially in Eastern Europe, which she explores through exhibition-making and research.
Georgia Țidorescu is a young curator based in Bucharest. Since 2018 she has been working in exhibition production for different institutions and organizations like the Art Encounters Biennial 2019 and 2021 and projects developed by Contrasens Cultural Association in Timișoara. She is now emerging in the curatorial sphere, currently focusing on discovering alternative methods of exhibiting young artists, giving them the tools to develop. At the same time, she is trying to find her place in the art scene, being in an experimental period of discovering her curatorial practice.

Anetta Mona Chișa, The Child, 2023, digitally generated autostereogram
© courtesy of the artist

List of artists

  • Nora Al-Badri
  • Carlos Amorales
  • Korakrit Arunanondchai
  • Zheng BO
  • Floriama Cândea *
  • Anetta Mona Chișa *
  • Alina Cioară *
  • Ioana Cîrlig
  • Giulia Crețulescu
  • András Cséfalvay & Lukáš Likavčan
  • Chiril Cucu
  • Maren Dagny Juell *
  • Stoyan Dechev
  • Rohini Devasher
  • Megan Dominescu
  • Albrecht Dürer
  • Arantxa Etcheverria
  • Constantin Flondor
  • Kata Geibl *
  • Anna Godzina
  • Liat Grayver & Marcus Nebe
  • Veronika Hapchenko
  • Libby Heaney
  • Eugène Ionesco
  • Zhanna Kadyrova
  • Christopher Kulendran Thomas
  • Hortensia Mi Kafchin
  • Patrícia Kaliczka
  • Knowbotiq
  • Nataša Kokić
  • Alicja Kwade
  • Kazimir Malevich
  • Sakib Rahman Mizanur *
  • Gregor Mobius
  • Sebastian Moldovan (in collab. with Lucia Ghegu, Albert Kaan) *
  • Farah Mulla
  • Anca Munteanu Rimnic *
  • Ciprian Mureșan
  • Museum of Antiquities
  • Sahil Naik *
  • Maria Nalbantova
  • Janiv Oron
  • Christodoulos Panayiotou *
  • Katarina Petrović *
  • Pushpamala N
  • Cristian Răduță
  • Pors & Rao
  • Tabita Rezaire
  • Naomi Rincón Gallardo
  • Pipilotti Rist
  • Karin Sander
  • Dimitar Solakov *
  • Saša Tkačenko
  • Kata Tranker
  • Vitto Valentinov
  • Mihaela Vasiliu (Chlorys)
  • Sorina Vazelina *
  • Christian Waldvogel

* newly commissioned works

Carlos Amorales, The Eye Me Not / El No Me Mires, 2015,
HD Film, color, with sound, 40 min, still © courtesy of the artist

Opening weekend – May 19–21, 2023, Timișoara

The opening weekend of the Art Encounters Biennial 2023 is May 19–21 in Timișoara!
The program prepared by the Art Encounters Foundation is a highly intense and attractive one and will contain the following: guided tours with the guest artists and the curator of the Biennial, a conference with Auronda Scalera and Alfredo Cramerotti, performances by Arantxa Etcheverria and Farah Mulla, tram tours populated by the famous work of the artist Carlos Amorales, Black Cloud, a picnic & informal talks with the artists, meetings with artist-run spaces in Timișoara (Avantpost, Balamuc, Baraka, Lapsus, Nava C2, Simultan).
The grand opening weekend of the fifth edition of the Art Encounters Biennial is also a unique opportunity to take advantage of the effervescent context of the European Capital of Culture 2023 and get to know the other local cultural organizations and institutions, but also to discover the public space through specially commissioned works of art.
Therefore, we welcome everyone to enjoy a remarkable event in the local and regional/Eastern European artistic landscape!

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